Houston has lost four in a row

Astros swept by A's as Oakland grabs another walk-off win

Jake Odorizzi went four innings while allowing a run in his return from the IL on Sunday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After dropping the first two games of the series, the Astros still had plenty of reasons to shrug off the recent struggles and pick things back up to move closer to locking up their playoff spot. They'd move no closer on Sunday, though, as Oakland would hand Houston another loss to end their road trip with four losses in a row.

Final Score: A's 4, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 91-65, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lou Trivino (7-7)

Losing Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (3-5)

Odorizzi goes four innings in return from IL

After landing on the IL with a foot injury he experienced covering first on September 13th, Jake Odorizzi made his return to the mound to face the A's on Sunday. He did decent, allowing one run in his four innings of work which came on a two-out RBI single to former Astro Tony Kemp in the bottom of the second. He otherwise kept Oakland at bay, allowing four hits and two walks to make his final line 4.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 82 P.

Houston jumps in front

With no chance at the win due to not making it five innings, he would at least get off the hook for the loss, as in the top of the fifth, his offense tied things up with three straight singles, the third by Jose Siri to make it a 1-1 game. Cristian Javier took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the inning, and he came on sharp to strike out the side.

The Astros kept hitting the ball in the sixth, getting a go-ahead solo homer to start the frame by Alex Bregman, followed by a single by Yordan Alvarez and RBI double by Yuli Gurriel, making it a two-run game. Javier stayed hot in the bottom of the inning, striking out two more batters in a 1-2-3 inning to maintain the new 3-1 lead.

Astros swept in Oakland

Oakland cracked Javier in the bottom of the seventh, getting a leadoff single followed by a hit-by-pitch to put two on base. They would get one run across on a sac bunt and RBI groundout, prompting Dusty Baker to make a move to bring in Phil Maton, who would give up a game-tying infield single before finishing the inning.

A scoreless eighth by both teams sent the game to the ninth, where the Astros had a chance in the top half. A one-out single by Jose Siri put the go-ahead run on base, and on a two-out single by Alex Bregman, Siri would reach, and unfortunately run through, third base and get thrown out at home to keep the game 3-3.

Ryne Stanek, who got through the eighth on just seven pitches, tried to force extras as he returned to the mound in the ninth. Oakland put the winning run on third against him, getting back-to-back singles to start the inning before a flyout and intentional walk loaded the bases as Houston would bring in Ryan Pressly to try and get out of the jam. Pressly threw one pitch, which was turned around for the walk-off hit to give Oakland the sweep and keep Houston waiting to clinch their playoff spot.

Up Next: With this road trip completed, the Astros will travel back to Houston before an off day on Monday. Tuesday, they'll start their final week and last homestand of the regular season, with the opener of three against the AL-best Rays at 7:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is still to be determined, but currently, it sets up to be Michael Wacha (3-5, 5.49 ERA) for Tampa Bay and Jose Urquidy (8-3, 3.56 ERA) for Houston.

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Boston's two grand slams in the first two innings were too much for Houston to overcome in ALCS Game 2. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a win in ALCS Game 1 that had the prototypical fingerprints of this Astros team all over it, Houston returned to Minute Maid Park on Saturday, hoping to take a dominant 2-0 series lead if they could grab another victory. The Red Sox dashed those hopes very early, though, scoring eight runs across the first two innings to build the lead they would hold on to even the series.

Final Score: Boston 9, Astros 5

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): tied 1-1

Winning Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Houston met with disaster to start Game 2

You couldn't have drawn up a much better start for the Red Sox or a worse one for the Astros in Saturday's ALCS Game 2. Luis Garcia met early disaster in the top of the first inning, allowing a leadoff double, then got two outs while issuing two walks to load the bases. That brought up Boston's designated hitter, J.D. Martinez, to the plate, and he delivered a crushing blow to Houston, launching a grand slam to put the Red Sox up 4-0 before Houston could even get to the plate.

After a scoreless bottom of the inning by his offense, things got worse for Garcia in the top of the second, as after issuing a four-pitch walk to start the frame, he would become the center of a meeting at the mound with trainers, ultimately leaving the game with an injury. Houston opted to bring in Jake Odorizzi for the emergency call to the bullpen, but things did not start well for him either. He would put two of his own batters on base with two singles, then gave up the second grand slam in as many innings, this one to Rafael Devers to double Boston's lead to 8-0, doubling down on Houston's disastrous start to the game.

Odorizzi rebounded with a 1-2-3 third, but with one out in the top of the fourth allowed a solo homer to Kiké Hernández, his third homer of the series so far. He would still get the job done of eating up a few innings, finishing the fourth, and retiring Boston in order in the fifth, giving Houston just four more innings to cover with the rest of their relievers.

Astros get a few runs back

Over that span, Houston did trim the lead by three runs, getting an RBI double by Kyle Tucker and a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the fourth, making it a six-run game at 9-3. Their next reliever was Blake Taylor in the top of the sixth, and he would keep the score where it stood by sitting down the three batters he faced that frame.

The Astros threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, getting two singles to put two aboard, but would come out empty, sending the game on to the seventh, where Taylor would remain on the mound. He faced three more batters, getting two out while allowing a single before Yimi Garcia would come in to get the third out.

Red Sox even the series as it shifts to Boston

Garcia returned in the top of the eighth, getting through that inning despite a walk and hit by pitch, stranding both runners. Boston's bullpen kept Houston from getting any closer in the bottom of the eighth, then Ryne Stanek came in for the Astros in the top of the ninth. Stanek allowed a leadoff double, but with a groundout and double play, held the score at 9-3. Yuli Gurriel and Jason Castro did their part to keep the Astros alive in the bottom of the ninth, each hitting solo homers to make it 9-5, but that's as close as they'd come, dropping Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece.

Up Next: The ALCS now moves to Boston for the next three games after a day off on Sunday, with Game 3 on Monday at 7:08 PM Central. While the Astros have named Jose Urquidy as their starter, the Red Sox have not yet determined theirs.

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